Oh, 2016. You were something else.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog (thank you!) you may recall that I tend to recap each year utilizing a theme. In the past, there have been reflections through the lens of food and even hotel rooms.

After a year of so many ups and downs for the world, many of us are looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016. Reflecting on the year, I’m looking intently for the good in these past twelve months. Thank you so much for being part of the journey.

Choosing safe places to travel.

The end of 2015 had me questioning my travel experiences and the world as I knew it. I did not believe one horrible incident abroad would really stop me from traveling, but I knew it would take a few places gentler than Colombia to build my faith back up.

I’m grateful to Ireland, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, lots of travel around the USA, and return visits to my beloved France for doing that for me.

tallinn overlook


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my simplest self-care tips, inspired by hygge.

Or, unintentionally cozying up to a new Danish word.

Hello, friends! You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. I’ve always strived to share with transparency in this space, so perhaps I’ll start today by telling you that it hasn’t been an easy year for me with regards to writing. I do still write full-time for a living, but it has been challenging for me to write the personal pieces I often share with you here.

Many times I’ve pointed to the block that is still haunting me — yes, you guessed it — telling the full story of my robbery at gunpoint and bus hijacking in Colombia at the end of last year. There’s so much I want to say, but so much pressure (from myself, mostly) to get it right.

It’s fitting I should mention that event now, because that was the beginning of the self-care practices that inspired this post. After the hijacking, my sense of security, my view of the world, my ability to trust myself…all of these things came into question. I suffered from PTSD and sought treatment when it began affecting parts of my life. And while I’ve learned more from it than I can begin to write, perhaps the simplest way to begin to share is to tell you how I learned to take better care of myself.


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Ever just feel drawn to a place?

I’ve been wanting to see Charleston for what feels like ages now. With many trips to the South in the past few years, I became more curious about the tree-lined paths and the warm, seaside air of South Carolina. Both sides of my family lived there at one point, and I was beginning to understand just how different parts of the United States can be away from my comfortable bubble in Northern California.

One of my best girlfriends here in San Francisco grew up spending summers on Myrtle Beach. I’d heard stories from my dad about his childhood summers there. And while I’m no Southerner, I’m certainly a beach girl.

Charleston pink buildings


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This time of year is consistently filled with excitement (and for some, dread.) Softening twilights signal the end of summer, when we put down our popsicles (or mugs of hot tea, if you’re a San Franciscan) and pick up our books, strap on our backpacks. It’s back to school time.

The little girl who loved school, who couldn’t wait for classes to begin…could hardly have predicted the evolution of the phrase “back to school” as a thirty-year-old. She likely could not imagine that one simple object and its meaning, its weight, would evolve alongside her.

 

Backpacking SF beach-8


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A Mission District walking tour for travelers from around the globe…and this local.

It’s an all too familiar scene.

Friends visiting San Francisco text to ask if I’d like to join them somewhere in the city. They know I love sharing my city with visitors, especially those who haven’t been before. Yet a small part of me cringes when I hear their list of plans: Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Union Square, Ghirardelli Square, riding in a cable car, clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.

I resist the urge to text them back with “No! Don’t do it! It’s a trap!” …Those are all parts of San Francisco that I have fond memories of, especially as a child. And for those who haven’t been before, they’re essential parts of the SF tourist experience.

The moment in which I shudder has less to do with any given person’s San Francisco itinerary and more to do with thinking back to when that was all I knew of the city. It’s all that most who visit know of the city.


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Where does one go to find the best bookstores in San Francisco?

It’s no secret that I’m a huge book nerd. My ideal afternoon includes prancing around foreign cities in search of the best libraries and bookstores. Yet in just over two years in San Francisco I’ve gotten to know my local bookstores — and they’ve become some of my favorites in the whole world.

In honor of #NationalBookLoversDay this week (which I am celebrating fully,) here is a list of what I consider to be the best bookstores in San Francisco.

best san francisco bookstores.

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